It was Winter 2017 and I was traipsing around a mall in Hamilton, New Zealand, trying to find a bright, happy, colourful coat which would bring some chirpiness into the somewhat grey foggy Waikato weather.
I couldn't find anything like this anywhere - so I decided to make my own!
I couldn’t believe that in New Zealand, the country known for sheep and wool, wasn’t selling 100% woollen coats at an “everyday” price. And further than this, that most woollen fabric sourced in New Zealand is actually often sent offshore to be spun and woven and then “bought back” into our country. Where had our New Zealand supply chain gone?
Thank goodness for Inter-Weave and their sister company Wool Yarns. They are the only wool weavers left in New Zealand and they take so much care in creating and manufacturing the perfect fabric for each product.
In 2018, enter Velma & Beverley - named for two special women; my grandmothers Velma Aldridge and Beverley Williamson, both of whom fostered a love of sewing, rural living, fabrics and colour, and instilled in me a love of creating beautiful things for their homes, friends and family.
They are both now passed away, but I love the idea of their memory living on in each and every garment we create at Velma & Beverley, with high quality fabrics, a sustainable, New Zealand based supply chain, and in incredible long lasting product which you’ll enjoy for many years to come.
New Zealand has a beautiful, unique and special story relating to our land and its people, and my family has been part of this for two generations. New Zealand wool is an incredible, long lasting, sustainable product, and the textiles and fabric we can create from this is exciting. The Williamson family farm in Waitetuna, near Raglan ran sheep and among other products sold wool for 40 years, and my own parents Don and Robyn Williamson have been farming sheep and beef South of the Kawhia Harbour for over 30 years. I still treasure the time I get to spend on the farm with our family.
The rural way of life is inextricably linked into the Velma & Beverley story - from the people themselves to the idea of creating long term, sustainable, high quality products. Growing up in a small area creates a strong sense of community and support for each other. Our Velma & Beverley community will be a group of like-minded women who love quality, longevity, colour, sustainability, and being themselves.
There is a lot of black in New Zealand women’s wardrobes - and I’d love to change that just a little bit. To allow women to express themselves - especially in the darker winter months - through colour and beautiful fabrics which they look forward to wearing.
I’ve always loved colour. But I wasn’t always confident enough to wear it. As I’ve grown older I’ve cared less what goes with what, and more about feeling happy, content, and beautiful in what I’m wearing.
It’s an approach I’d love to share with everyone - all women deserve to look and feel beautiful in the clothes they wear - while being confident that they’re buying something sustainable, beautiful, kind to the environment from a company who cares about the people who have made each item with love.
Please join us at www.velmaandbeverley.com
Be brave, be yourself, and live life in colour with us.